Sports are full of math. It is not just the score of the games but lots of other numbers and statistics.
For example, batting averages and earned-run averages are math calculations that help baseball fans understand who are the best hitters and pitchers. It’s the same with shooting percentages in basketball or save percentages for goalies in hockey and lacrosse. In football, there are yards per carry and reception. Then there is the Quarterback Rating statistic (although I’m not sure anyone really understands that one).
So if you like all the numbers in sports, you may want to check out the National Math Festival (NMF) from
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the District.
The festival will be full of fun math stuff for kids. There is a new game called Flagway, in which teams of five to eight players move across a game floor using their speed and knowledge of math.
John Urschel will speak about the physics (science and math) in football. Urschel should know. He is a former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens who is studying advanced math at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But it’s not all sports at the festival. There will be dozens of exhibits and presentations on how math is related to such nonsports activities as dance, music and the environment.
Like magic shows? Magician Mark Mitton will demonstrate how you can perform tricks that will mystify your friends with everyday objects.
Did you see the movie “Frozen”? Joseph Teran, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, will speak about the math behind the special effects in the movie. Speaking of movies, the festival will show a film from the science television series “Nova” called “Prediction by the Numbers.” It demonstrates how math is used to predict many things, including storms, elections and even TV game shows.
Kids and adults will be playing board games during all six hours of the festival. You can bring your favorite game or just join in the fun.
I spoke to Kirsten Bohl, the project director of the NMF. She said she wants kids who come to the festival to think, “Wow! I didn’t realize math was so interesting and ties into so many things in my life.”
Bohl said most kids who attend the festival — this is the third NMF — think they “are not doing math, they are just playing.”
One more thing. It’s very simple to figure out how much money your family will pay to attend the festival. Kids cost zero dollars, zero cents. Adults cost the same. Even if you have a huge family, all those zeros add up to zero.
Everyone likes that kind of math.